Why is there a bay leaf in our flour canister?Years ago, in the midst of a moth infestation, we read that bay leaves repel pantry insects. Everyone from beetles to weevils, moths, cockroaches, ants, and flies is said to hate the herb's fragrance. The leaves can be placed in containers of flour, rice, and other dry goods, or taped inside cupboards and shelves. Of course, this should not preclude other bug deterring efforts like regular cleaning and storing foods in airtight containers.
Although we cannot offer scientific proof, we can confirm that our grains have been virtually pest-free ever since we started slipping bay leaves into canisters, cupboards, and boxes. We change them out every few months or once they lose their pungency. We've never had an issue with the leaves affecting the flavor of dry goods; however, if this is a concern, one could affix the leaf to the inside of the lid rather than placing it directly in the food.
Does anyone else use bay leaves or other herbs to repel pantry bugs?
Emily Ho is a writer, recipe developer, and educator. She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches classes on food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. Emily is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and the international Food Swap Network.
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